Christchurch Old Boys United AC pole vaulter Jack Henry has all the tools for a bright future in the sport. Here the 23-year-old 2016 New Zealand decathlon, pole vault and 110m hurdles silver medallist answers our Five Minutes With questions.

Why and how did you start in the sport of athletics?

I started athletics aged 14 after doing well in hurdles at school level. My Mum suggested athletics could help improve the other sports that I was doing at the time, so it began.

What was your first significant win?


When I won the 2012 National Junior 110m hurdles title, breaking the Canterbury U18 record. It was significant because three months earlier I was disqualified for a false start in the same event at the National Secondary Schools (champs).

What was your first major setback?

I partially tore both of my patellar tendons in late-2012 after a plyometrics session. I had assumed that because I felt great, I should do at least four times as much as I was given! Understandably, my knee was sore the next day and I from that point on I learnt the importance of training smart.

Best piece of coaching advice?

Quality over quantity; often, less is more. My Dad (Peter and former coach who placed tenth in the 1990 Commonwealth Games decathlon) taught me this, and how to listen to my body from his own experiences. They used to place quantity over quality and nearly killed themselves!

What qualities do you think every athlete needs to succeed?

Confidence - prepare well and know your strengths. Resilience - focus on the long-term vision especially during hardship. Adaptability - ability to adapt to different situations and new information quickly.

What is the most important thing you have learned from your time in the sport?

To be active in seeking the best possible environment for you to fulfill your potential. It takes courage to have an impartial perspective on your current situation and do something about it if needed. However, as someone once identified: "nothing of great significance was achieved without a certain degree of risk".

What is the best thing about being an athlete?

Showing people what you are capable of - the human body and what it can do is awesome. I also like the large quantity of food I can eat (sometimes) and claim as practical for recovery!

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

Teleportation - So I could finally visit my relatives and family friends in countries on the other side of the world.

What is your hidden talent?

I have been able to paint since I was a kid. I have a passion for design and being creative.

What would be your last meal?

Definitely a ribeye steak (cooked rare) from one of my family's steers back in Canterbury, perhaps with a side of chips and green salad. A classic.

What is the most important piece of kit and why?

My poles. As a pole vaulter these are an extension of myself as an athlete. Therefore, it is important not to take them for granted and to look after my implements as I would myself.

What is your karaoke song?

The Rolling Stones - Jumpin Jack Flash

What is your greatest indulgence?

Mum's apple crumble with ice cream. That combo never lasts long.

If you could have three dinner party guests, who would they be and why?

Muhammad Ali - wicked personality. Winston Churchill - an inspirational leader who would have some insightful wisdom and J. K. Rowling - I gained a lot of pleasure during childhood from her incredible imagination.